Small Quilts with Vintage Charm Class Plan

by Jo Morton

Small Quits with Vintage Charm offers information quilters need to know about designing, creating, and living with small quilts. Help your customers make the most of this important resource tool by teaching classes based on the book. Quilters of all levels will benefit from the lessons gained in the process.

Small Quits with Vintage Charm can serve as a textbook for a basic class for making small quilts, or can be used for more advanced lessons on color and design. The highlighted tips throughout the book will help students achieve success in these projects. Be sure you are thoroughly acquainted with the book before teaching any of the projects since the tips may apply to more than the project where they are featured.

Here are some important points to consider when organizing the class:

  • Making samples of the quilts in addition to individual blocks for demonstration is very important. Be aware of how long it took you, the instructor, to complete the project.
  • Small is not always quicker. Be ready to demonstrate accurate cutting and accurate sewing with a scant 1/4" seam. The book's tips and techniques for making small blocks are clear, and their use is vital for success.
  • Before teaching the class, review the steps and techniques used in the project. Make notes or highlight sections of the book you wish to emphasize. Sticky notes are a great way to indicate the pages to be brought to the students' attention.
  • Spend some time at the beginning of class on fabric selection. Be sure you are very familiar with the section of the book on Choosing and Using Fabric. If possible, have samples of what doesn't work as well as what works. My scrappy quilts are done with planning and control.
  • Review the General Instructions with the students. In addition to the suggestions in this section, encourage students to use a small needle in their sewing machine. The larger needles can Òpush" the fabric and hinder accuracy.
  • Stress ACCURACY Ñ 1) in cutting, 2) in piecing, 3) in assembly. Any missteps in these three steps with create problems. Small-scale quilts require greater precision. A bonus is that the mastery of a small-scale project will make a bigger one easier.
  • Use a design wall to show samples, and have students use a design wall for designing their project. Block Butler is a very useful tool for this purpose.
  • Using a walking foot for piecing will make the blocks more accurate (See page 15). Consistency in block piecing is necessary for a successful project.
  • Conduct classes on a time schedule, so students can complete one or two of each of the different blocks in the quilt.
  • I recommend all-day classes (6 hours) so there is ample time to spend with each student to be sure they are doing each step accurately, or at least to the best of their ability.
  • All cutting should be done in class after the instructor demos accurate cutting. All piecing should be done in class after the instructor shows straight scant 1/4" seams.
  • Have students use a piece of moleskin, masking tape, or a small stack of post-it-notes to indicate 1/4" boundary, especially if the students do not have a 1/4" foot for their machines.
  • Recommended class size: 10 - 12 students

Teacher Supply List

  • Finished quilt (This is essential to promote interest in the class. Samples sell!!)
  • Blocks in various stages of completion to demonstrate construction techniques
  • Seam ripper (You can save students' time and frustration by ripping for them.)
  • Extra rotary tools, pins, scissors, etc. in case students forget something
  • Sufficient irons and ironing boards in the classroom
  • Supply of post-it-notes
  • Variety of rulers to demonstrate uses in cutting and trimming (Students will often purchase additional rulers when they see their value to the success of a project.)

Class Description: Mini Nine-Patches with Star Center - p. 56
A one-day, 6-hour class
Students learn techniques for constructing a small-scale quilt.

Student Supply List

  • Required textbook: Small Quits with Vintage Charm by Jo Morton
  • Sewing machine in good working order with a new needle - size 10
  • Basic sewing supplies, including sharp pins, seam ripper, scissors
  • Neutral-colored thread
  • Rotary cutter, ruler, and mat
  • Iron and pressing surface (unless supplied at teaching site)
  • Fabric as listed in book for the project
  • Materials for creating a design wall, such as Pellon® Fleece or Block Butler - 3' x 3' (I use a gray felt over 1" foam core which is a neutral surface.)
  • Notebook and pen or pencil


First 2-3 hours:

  1. Go over the parts of the book as suggested above.
  2. Demonstrate cutting and sewing of the Star Block.
  3. Have students make the Star Block.

Next 2 hours:

  1. Demonstrate cutting and sewing of the Mini Nine-Patches.
  2. Have students make as many Nine-Patches as they have time for.

Last hour:
Go over the addition of the borders, including the border for the Star Block. Stress measuring before cutting, since all 1/4" seams are not the same size!